In a televised address yesterday evening, President Bush announced his veto of a $124 billion war spending bill that included a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Ignoring overwhelming public opinion that the Iraq war should be ended swiftly, Bush said, “Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement yesterday evening, criticizing Bush for “not listening to the American people’s call to end this disastrous war. Our bill achieved exactly what the American people elected us to do in November 2006. It would have fully funded troops on the ground, started to bring them home responsibly, held President Bush accountable, and ensure our veterans get the treatment they deserve back home.”
In her floor speech yesterday, Foreign Relations Committee member Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) pointed out that Bush’s veto came on the fourth anniversary of his “mission accomplished” speech, during which he claimed that major combat operations in Iraq were over. “This President’s policies left unchecked have been a disaster. What does he want? More of the same.” Speaking about the vetoed bill, Sen. Boxer said, “This new policy will work because it combines a gradual redeployment of troops with a focus on diplomacy and a political solution.”
New York Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton also responded to Bush’s veto, saying, “President Bush has made it clear that he is standing in the way of ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home. The nation is ready for the President to stop disregarding the will of the American people and to work with Democrats on a funding bill that will enable us to begin redeploying our troops.” Sen. Clinton also noted that the bill includes homeland security provisions and measures to meet the health needs of those exposed to toxic air at Ground Zero following 9/11.
Congressional leaders are expected to meet with the president at the White House today to begin negotiations on a new bill, the New York Times reports.